The Magic of Experience

In 1966 Walt Disney quietly began buying up swampland in central Florida. Today, millions of people every year travel from all over the world to visit that swampland – and they pay a premium to do it. Ask your kids where they want to go on vacation and odds are Disney World makes the short list.

Disney World doesn’t have the most thrilling rides. It doesn’t have the tastiest food. It doesn’t have the most convenient location. And it sure doesn’t have the lowest price tag. So why is it that 70% of the guests in the park at any given time are repeat visitors? Why is the average family willing to save for two and a half years to make the trip?

Walt Disney knew that in order to build the best theme park, he couldn’t compete the same way the other guys do. He knew that if he built a great new ride, someone else would just build a better one. If he lowered his price, the competition would simply lower theirs to stay on the game. Disney knew that these strategies were expensive and ineffective.

Disney knew that the only way to win was to provide an experience unlike any other park – an experience so engaging it could only be described as “magical.” And so Disney World remains the ultimate example of customer experience. Their culture revolves around this goal. Let,me give you a couple of examples:

– Disney cast members never say “I” or “they.” They always refer to “we” because the team as a whole is responsible for the customer’s experience.

– Street sweepers receive a minimum of 2 weeks training – not to learn how to use a broom,mbut to learn about the park – where an attractions located, the start time of the parade, etc. – so they can quickly answer a guest’s question.

– High traffic areas are painted every night, with painting timed carefully to dry by morning, so they remain clean and fresh for every guest.

– Everyone’s job description, regardless of position, includes the same two items at the top of the list:

1. Keep the property clean.
2. Create happiness.

Disney challenged his employees to examine every aspect of the customer experience and do what they could to make it better. He knew that it would take the entire team, working together, to make the “Magic Kingdom” a reality.

Now consider your last customer’s experience. Was it “magical” or forgettable?

How can your team work together to create a better experience for your customers?

And what can you do differently as an individual to create some magic for those you serve?

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